Experts have said that self-driving cars will drastically reduce road fatalities, most of which are caused by human error.
In a separate development, Reuters reported that Transportation Secretary Elaine Chao is expected to issue revised self-driving vehicle guidelines next week in MI.
So it's no small thing that the U.S. House of Representatives unanimously passed a massive bill on Wednesday aimed at speeding the development of self-driving cars on public roads and superseding the patchwork of regulations in individual states. Per the bill, the National Highway Traffic Safety Administration will still be tasked with setting regulations for the manufacturing of self-driving vehicles.
"With this legislation, innovation can flourish without the heavy hand of government", said Rep.
The House bill exempts a limited number of self-driving cars from federal rules. Performance standards would be left to design by the federal government, while states would retain ownership of rules on licensing, registration, insurance and safety inspection. While the House bill only accounts for passenger cars and trucks, the Senate bill could include driverless commercial vehicles.
The bill will next go up for a vote in the Senate, which will debate how self-driving vehicles will affect everything from jobs to congestion.
The proposed legislation in its current form would allow automakers to obtain exemptions to deploy up to 25,000 vehicles without meeting existing auto safety standards in the first year.
The new parameters from the Trump Administration are expected to be a bit more lax than the initial ones set forth by the Obama Administration in 2016.
"The future of the automobile is here and this bill will give the automotive industry the tools it needs to completely revolutionize how we will get around for decades to come", said Rep. Fred Upton (R-MI), a member of the House Energy and Commerce Committee. Those rules encouraged autonomous vehicle developers to make sure cars meet a 15-point checklist of safety expectations, and undergo regulatory reviews before hitting the market.
Automakers raised numerous concerns about the Obama administration guidance, including the suggestion that automakers should submit systems to regulators for review before putting them on the market.